Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Travesty in Haiti: A true account of Christian missions, orphanages, fraud, food aid and drug trafficking Paperback – July 5, 2008
|New from||Used from|
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
Timothy T Schwartz earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Florida and then went to live and work in Haiti for six years. His research included 15 months living with impoverished Haitians in the thatch-roofed huts of a remote fishing hamlet and three years residing in agricultural settlements and villages. He worked as a consultant for international aid agencies, including the German foreign ministry (GTZ), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), French ID (Initiative Developpment), and CARE International, the world’s largest international charity. Since leaving Haiti he has been living in the neighboring Dominican Republic where he works as an international consultant specializing in Haitian-Dominican relations and coordinates social impact assessments for private companies. His studies have been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Curtis Wilgus Foundation and the University of Florida College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Recent publications include the Haiti entry for an encyclopedia of world cultures, Countries and Their Cultures (Macmillan Reference USA: Yale University), an article in the refereed Journal for Research in Economic Anthropology entitled Pronatalism and the Economic Utility of Children in Jean Rabel, Haiti, and an article published in the Caribbean’s oldest and most prestigious journal, New West Indian Guide, entitled Subsistence Songs: Haitian 'téat' performances, gendered capital and livelihood strategies in Jean Makout, Haiti.
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 40%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
Top customer reviews
It seems so many books written about Haiti reek of personal agenda. Travesty in Haiti is a definite exception. I will certainly recommend this book to others!!! Well done!!!!
Read like a true-crime book and I guess that's what it really is, except there are so many criminals, you can't pinpoint who's the worst. I couldn't put it down.
Since this is a review based on the Kindle edition, one star is knocked off the top for poor formatting (font is too small, graphics don't appear at all), and for too many typographical errors, which may or may not be due to poor format conversion.
It was the subtitle of this book that hooked me, because I worked for some of the agencies vilified. For four years I provided health care to the poorest of the poor in Haiti, albeit in a totally different part of the country. (Geographical references are hard to pin down, with some real and some apparently fictitious names used). My time in Haiti also predated the author's experience bey several years, having endured the ouster of the Duvalier regime during my tenure. The project I was most heavily involved with was a joint venture with a large NGO. I was recruited to fulfill a vacancy in this ongoing venture, and I soon saw that it wasn't a very well conceived project. Nonetheless, in my little corner of the world, I saw none of the abuses which Schwartz alleges.
That said, I was aware of the larger picture to some extent, and what has unfolded in the years since, as recounted in this expose, does not surprise me, as heartbreaking as it is. Having learned some of the Haitian mindset and cultural milieu, it is all tragically plausible. I saw a whole network of beautiful clinics built throughout the countryside. I was at first delighted. Then, I realized that there was no plan whatsoever to staff and supply them! Empty. But, I'm sure they looked good on someone's report. I saw a lot of other misguided projects - all with good intentions, but ignorantly conceived and clumsily conducted. We had some good ones, too, like seeding some small income-generating projects that were locally generated and run. Health care was tricky, because we were almost always limited point of care activity which had no lasting impact. My successor tried to develop a rural community health care network, but relied on Haitian volunteerism and a model of remote administration. I knew as soon as I heard about it that it was due to fail. (The author talks about the lack of institutional memory, of which this is an example).
There are a few asides in which the author acknowledges the good that missions and relief organizations have done, but for some of us who have known good, honest, dedicated, compassionate, sacrificing people who have given so much (and in many cases accomplished much) for the Haitian people, these crumbs seem meager fare.
Once we get beyond the shock value of this book, buried in the appendix, are the author's recommendations for solutions to these deep and complex issues. Some of them are quite good, such as working with the maritime sector. Especially essential is some sort of independent, accountable, central coordinating agency for NGO and GOH development. Is this even possible? In these recommendations, the author does not address at all the two most salient features of the landscape that mitigate against any of this - the inbred corruption, greed, and deceit of the Haitian system (and of many of the NGOs) and the pervasive alliance with the illicit drug business. Any workable, comprehensive plan has to address these two issues head on.
This book can be read with great benefit by anyone interested in Haiti, or in international aid and development in general. Just be aware that you have to wade through a lot to get to the truth.